Nine-year-old Big Issue reader delivers food to homeless people in Brighton

Harry went with mum, Kate Dalton, to give out unopened food he had collected from his primary school

Hailsham resident Kate Dalton was reading The Big Issue’s Christmas special when she spotted our call for examples of good deeds within communities.

She didn’t need to think hard – her son Harry, nine, had hatched a plan over Christmas to help homeless people in his area and beyond. The selfless school pupil went on to spend days handing out food in nearby Brighton and London.

On a trip into London to see the festive lights, Kate says Harry was too worried about the rough sleepers he saw to think about the twinkling display. He was really worried about them being cold and going hungry.

“He just kept saying to me the whole way round – what about that person with the dog? You ignored them, why didn’t you help them? On the train home too. So that made me think and I realised we needed to embrace that kindness in him.”

When pupils at Harry’s school, Grovelands Primary, were asked to bring party food from home for the last day of term, the nine-year-old was struck by an idea.

With the headteacher’s permission, Kate and Harry collected all the unopened leftovers from the day – carting home five overflowing carrier bags of food – so that it could be given to homeless people stuck on the streets in the biting cold.

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The pair originally planned to head for London but had too much to carry in one go, so first made a trip into Brighton with one of Harry’s friends there to help. Others in the community had also donated fruit and dog food after Harry told them about the homeless people he had seen with pets.

Once in Brighton, a Big Issue vendor helped them find the areas often populated by homeless people. London involved “a lot more walking, constantly being on and off buses”. On both trips, Harry led Kate and their fully-laden trolley of food in search of disadvantaged people he could show a little kindness to.

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“It was lovely, actually,” his mum said. “Everybody was so grateful, so polite and kind. I was a little bit apprehensive, in case they felt offended, but they didn’t. They were just lovely.

“Harry just went up and asked them if they wanted any food. And then he shook their hand.”

The nine-year-old had lots of questions for everyone he met, keen to know how long they had been there and how people could do more to help them. He made some four-legged friends, too.

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Kate added: “It was an experience that my son will never forget. I want to nurture this caring and compassionate nature that he has in helping others. I am super proud of my him.

“It feels like such a small thing we did, but hopefully it did make a difference to some people on that day.”

Has someone in your community taken action to help those less fortunate? Let us know at editorial@bigissue.com.